Shock and sadness at Coastguard tragedy

Commenting on the tragic loss of members of the Coastguard off the Mayo coast, West Cork Cllr Paul Hayes said, “I was on the road to a meeting in Limerick very early this morning, only a few hours after the Rescue 116 Coastguard helicopter went off the radar.

“I was really hoping to hear news that the crew had been rescued, however as the hours passed during the day, a terrible tragedy unfolded and now sadly it looks like all four, brave crew members have lost their lives.

“It brings into sharp focus the dangers faced by our emergency services, Coastguard, RNLI and others, as they patrol the seas and coastline helping others, and how much we are indebted to them. Sincere condolences to the families and friends of those lost at sea today and also to the Coastguard family all around our coast, including Gerard O’Flynn Search & Rescue Operations Manager from Barry’s Point Barryroe.”

Fianna Fáil Leader, Micheál Martin also expressed his deepest sorrow following the tragic incident.

“This is an ultimate, yet tragic, example of public service, and my thoughts, and the thoughts of the entire Fianna Fáil organisation, are with the families of those who lost their lives or who are still missing.

“Captain Dara Fitzpatrick died in the service of the State; doing the job she loved. I want to express my deepest condolences to her family on their loss.

“This tragedy should remind us all that there are thousands of people putting their lives on the line every day on our behalf.

“99.9% of the time we don’t realise that members of the coastguard, nurses, fire officers, Gardaí and members of the Defence Forces are working to serve and protect our country.

“I hope that answers can be found quickly as to how this tragedy occurred and that the bodies of those who are still missing can be brought onshore to bring closure to their families.

“Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a hainm dhílis,” concluded Martin.